Hi Rich, thanks for taking part - first up how long have you been playing walking football?
I have been playing walking football on a regular basis for the past two years. I'm now 61 years old.
Brilliant, where did you first here about the sport and how did you first get involved?
I was six years post stroke when I discovered this version of the beautiful game; I was on the mend but needed to up my exercise. Walking football was suggested by a health rehabilitation advisor and to be honest, my expectations were not very high at that point. My first session was free and I was welcomed with open arms by a bunch of like minded ex-footballers (and non-footballers!) who had discovered this growing gem of a game.
What difference has walking football made to you?
Initially I found aches and pains from muscles I hadn't used in thirty years! After a few weeks these aches and pains vanished and I began to feel fitter in both mind and body with the added bonus of a positive attitude. Plus I had a whole bunch of new friends who I look forward to seeing each week. This has grown into a whole global community where I can feel welcome to join any session worldwide.
What have been the highlights of your time playing walking football?
My health has improved, I've lost weight, played in competititions both locally and overseas [a joint Leominster and Ross team travelled to Portugal to compete in a tournament last season], and been selected for the county - something I never managed in my playing days. I look forward to every session whatever the weather. Also, with one of my teammates from Leominster we now assist in the training of our local ladies walking football team - there is a lot of satisfaction from this too.
What would you say to someone considering giving it a go?
Our wonderful County FA staff [this is in Richard's words not ours!]
have been fully supportive of teams within their remit. Every effort is
made to open this version of the game to all who wish to get involved
regardless of ability, mobility, fitness or experience.
If you miss the game you once loved to play, or have
never played but are looking for a new way to get in shape, then give
walking football a go. Most players are hooked after the very first
session. The skill level grows with you as your old timing and instincts
resurface. As you can tell; by now I am completely sold on the concept! If you are unsure, just come and try a free session at one of the local clubs and give it a go!